Court candidates reluctant to give stances on issues
The Cleveland Plain Dealer asked the four Supreme Court candidates for their opinions on a variety of hot-button legal and political issues, in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows judicial candidates to announce their views on such topics. An Ohio rule barring such public pronouncements was abandoned in 1996, though few, if any, judicial candidates have publicly expressed their views on disputed legal or political issues.
The newspaper posed 15 written questions to Tim Black, a Hamilton County Municipal judge, Lt. Gov. Maureen O'Connor, Janet Burnside, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge, and incumbent Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton.
All four were unanimous in declining to give their opinions on the right to carry a concealed weapon, citing cases before the Supreme Court.
Black claimed he supports the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment - the right to bear arms - but Chad Baus, vice chairman of the Ohioans for Concealed Carry PAC, said that response is misleading because Black has received campaign contributions from lawyers suing gunmakers in Cincinnati.
"Accepting money says more to me than anything," Baus said.
Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said the candidates dodged the question.